Cutting DEI is Costing You

Term of the Day: Diversity Theater

Despite dramatic gains in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) roles since summer 2020, DEI teams have been disproportionately affected by recent layoffs. The deprioritization of these positions is what Jamie Adasi, head of inclusion, diversity, equity and allyship for software company Greenhouse, refers to as “diversity theater,” describing employers who promote the image that they value DEI, but don’t back it up with resources and action.

In an analysis of more than 600 U.S. companies that have laid off workers since late 2020, Revelio Labs, a New York City-based company that studies workforce trends, reveals that attrition rates for DEI roles are measurably higher than those of non-DEI positions, and they continue to accelerate. Amazon, Twitter, and Nike have each released 5 to 16 DEI professionals, and given that the median DEI team size among the companies analyzed is 3, these exoduses likely consisted of the entire teams.

As a result of a diminishing focus on DEI, many of these companies have also shown a decline in their share of diverse hires since mid-2022, with leading names including TripAdvisor, Glassdoor and Wells Fargo.

Why should you continue to invest in DEI? Data from Revelio Labs informs us that organizations with DEI teams have more diverse representation, yielding greater creativity and innovation, and higher levels of employee satisfaction, resulting in improved engagement, productivity, and retention.

If your organization is engaging in “diversity theater,” BridgeWorks can help you cut the act with attainable DEI solutions that meaningfully improve the bottom line.